May 1983 saw the release of the band's third album, titled Seance. Here the Church produced themselves for the first time. The album made somewhat more use of keyboards and synthesizers than previous releases, and the accompanying live shows included a guest keyboardist, Melbourne-based session player Dean Walliss. Although Seance was a self-produced effort, the band employed Nick Launay for the mixing (based on his work on Midnight Oil's 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1). The end result was not what the band expected: a distorted, noise-gated drum sound that particularly stood out on the staccato-like snare. Unsatisfied with the sound, the band asked Launay to redo the mix, but the effect was in the end only lightened. The first single, "Electric Lash," featured this sound prominently (some fans likening it to a "machine gun"). Despite dissatisfaction over the mix, Seance featured a lusher, more atmospheric Church with notable highlights like "Now I Wonder Why" and "Fly." All the same, the album sold poorly, being considered dark and cryptic, and the general public seemed to lose interest in the band. Critics in Europe and the United States liked the album, however, with Creem hailing them as "one of the best in the world."
Seance was still largely dominated by Kilbey's songwriting. Some 20 songs were put together on his home 4-track for the album but Kilbey also encouraged band members to present their own material. It was becoming obvious that music oriented around one personality would create resentment in the band. In the end though, only one band composition made the album: the experimental "Travel By Thought." Kilbey and Willson-Piper had co-written another track, "10,000 Miles," but the record label rejected its inclusion. Kilbey was subsequently upset by the label's interference, finding the track essential to the set. The song was instead later included on the successor release, Remote Luxury.